Guest Author - Jason P. Ruel
Another victory in the struggle we call life. The state of Washington has finally taken the “bold” step to say YES to GLBT people in their state. What is this bold step, and what are they saying yes to? Discrimination… plain and simple.
Washington became the 17th state to say YES to GLBT Anti-discrimination laws. It became also the 7th state to protect the Transgendered person as well. This is a resounding victory for GLBT people everywhere.
The struggle of Washington state, just like many others, was a 30 year battle to the very end. The state’s first openly gay lawmaker, Cal Anderson, made one simple request of a friend before he died. He asked if he would keep working on gay civil rights legislation. This happened about 10 years ago and finally this man’s dream, as well as all GLBT people in Washington, is being realized, and will soon become law.
An AP news report quotes Rep. Ed Murray (D-Seattle) as saying, “I remember the day that Cal told me he didn’t have much longer to live. One of the things he asked was if I would continue work on this bill.” Ed has nothing to be ashamed of now, for he completed his friends dying wish, and did it as one of four openly gay legislators of Washington State. Another surprise for the lawmaker was when he received a standing ovation shortly after the cotes were in and it passed the House, and he was one of many gay lawmakers to be openly hugged and greeted by their colleagues.
Like many other states, this law was introduced in the 70’s, almost thirty years ago. Also like many other states, Washington struggled to get such a simple law passed. Washington becomes the 17th state to give GLBT persons anti-discrimination rights, and more specifically, the rights to not be discriminated in housing, employment and insurance. What was surprising though was the fact that they (Washington State) became the 7th state to protect Transgendered people as well (which is uncommon obviously).
On Friday, January 27th, 2006, the Senate passed the legislation with a vote of 25 for and 23 against the measure. One Republican broke party ranks to vote along with the Democrats to pass this law. The house then went on to approve the measure with a vote of 61-37. The Governor, Christine Groggier, said she would sign the bill into law if passed, and is planning on signing the newly passed law into effect on Tuesday, January 31st, 2006.
I am proud of the people of Washington who stood up to the legislature after a dismal 1 vote loss last year. They stood up and said, HEY! We should be proud of the struggle that our fellow GLBT family endured and conquered by the passing of this law. Now we shall see if other states continue to follow in our folds and pass these measures which is right to do. Thank you Cal Anderson. Thank you Ed Murray. Thank you to the 24 other House Lawmakers and the 61 Senators who took the right step. THANK YOU!
Jason P. Ruel
Gay Lesbian Editor @ BellaOnline